I guess I'll try to stir up a discussion, and I'm sorry if this is too teacher-y, but I think some of us might be able to relate. I'm struggling with a certain population of the 8th graders I teach, and thought it might make for some healthy discussion. I have about 15 kids who are really smart. They have got all of the academic skills you need to really excel at school, but they are all failing, and failing miserably.
The reason for this is that they are not doing assigned work. There is no doubt that they are capable of this sort of work because when I stand over them menacingly and refuse to move until they put pen to paper, they can knock out the work with breath-taking speed and accuracy. There is, however, a prevailing notion among this group that says that their capability should be sufficient. In other words, the fact that they could do the work if they wanted should outweigh the fact that they refuse to do the work.
I guess the question under discussion, therefore, is where does this attitude come from? If you are so capable, why hesitate to do what should be so easy for you?